Champions is a role-playing game originally by George MacDonald, Steve Peterson, Bruce Harlick, and Ray Greer, published by Hero Games, designed to simulate and function in a four-color superhero comic book world.
The latest edition of the game, using the Fifth Edition of the Hero System as revised by Steve Long, was written by Aaron Allston. A Sixth Edition version will be published in late 2009 or early 2010.
Champions, first published in 1981, is one of the first examples of a role-playing game in which character generation was based on a point-buy system instead of random dice rolls. A player decides what kind of character to play, and designs the character using a set number of "character points", often abbreviated as "CP." The limited number of character points generally defines how powerful the character will be. Points can be used in many ways: to increase personal characteristics, such as strength or intelligence; to buy special skills, such as martial arts or computer programming; or to build superpowers, such as supersonic flight or telepathy.
Players are required not only to design a hero's powers, but also the hero's skills, disadvantages, and other traits. Thus, Champions characters are built with friends, enemies, and weaknesses, along with powers and abilities with varying scales of character point value for each. This design approach intends to make all the facets of Champions characters balanced in relation to each other regardless of the specific abilities and character features. Characters are rewarded with more character points after each adventure, which are then used to buy more abilities, or eliminate disadvantages.
Players can design custom superpowers using the Champions rules system. Rather than offering a menu of specific powers, Champions powers are defined by their effects. (An energy blast is the same power regardless of whether it represents a laser beam, ice powers, or mystical spells.) The Champions rulebook includes rules governing many different types of generic powers which can then be modified to fit the players idea.
This allows players to simulate situations found in superhero stories. Like most comic book heroes, characters and villains are frequently knocked out of the fight but seldom killed. There are special rules for throwing heavy objects like aircraft carriers.
Champions, at the time, was unusual for only using six-sided dice. Most roleplaying games of the period used polyhedral dice.
History and other GenresEdit
The Champions system was adapted to a fantasy genre under the title Fantasy Hero (the first playtest edition of Fantasy Hero appeared before Champions was published), with similar advantages and disadvantages to the original Champions game. More recently (in 1984), Champions was incorporated into a generic role-playing game system called the Hero System. Champions now exists as a genre sourcebook for the Hero System. Books for other genres have also appeared over the years, including Star Hero, Dark Champions, Pulp Hero, and Ninja Hero.
An online game, Champions Online, is now an available-to-play massively-multiplayer online role-playing game.
Chapters that PlayEdit
The following chapters are know to play, previously played, or open to playing the game: